Turkish club impose fines for players who set 'bad examples’ by having beards

Genclerbirligi’s controversial Chairman Ilhan Cavcav is fining any player who breaks his ban €9,000

A leading Turkish soccer club have banned their players from growing beards after their chairman said they looked like students of Islamic vocational schools and set a bad example.

"I am 80 years old, and I shave every single day," Genclerbirligi Chairman Ilhan Cavcav said in explaining the reasoning for his club's decision to start issuing a fine of 25,000 lira, be that little under €9,000, to any of their footballers with beards.

His own grandson has been affected

“Man, is this an imam-hatip school? You are a sportsman. You should be a model for the youth,” he said in an interview with Dogan News Agency, complaining that his own 23-year-old grandson was negatively affected by the ever-growing number of beards in the football world.


Located in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Genclerbirligi currently place 9th in the Turkish league with Cavcav having acted as club chairman for nearly 40 years. His first spell beginning in 1976, resigning after the club were relegated and then taking control once more two years later.

A nationwide ban

As "bad examples," Cavcav mentioned Besiktas's Croatian coach Slaven Bilic, Galatasaray midfielder Selcuk Inan and Fenerbahce goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.

Cavcav said he had asked the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) chairman Yildirim Demiroren to adopt a nationwide beard ban for footballers.

“He told me that they could not impose such a restriction because the UEFA would not let them do it. I am fed up with this UEFA. I wish we had some other place to play our football,” he added.

Racist attack

Cavcav’s club came under fire this month after an Alevi Kurdish footballer left the country following a racist attack apparently motivated by his support on social media for Kurds fighting to defend a Syrian border town from Islamic State militants.

Deniz Naki, a dual German-Turkish national who has received online insults over his ethnic origins, was attacked in the Turkish capital Ankara, leaving him with bruises to his face.

Further Turkish controversey

Meanwhile the Guardian have reported the hollywood-like plot behind the exclusion of Bayer Leverkusen's vastly talented youngster Hakan Calhanoglu, and his club-mate Omer Toprak from the Turkey naional team squad who were thrashed 4-0 by Brazil last week.

In short, back in May 2013 ahead of a World Cup qualifier with Holland, Toprak, a friend and Calhanoglu were at the national team hotel before their flight back to Germany the following morning.

Hollywood plot

Gokhan Tore, a former Chelsea youngster now with Besiktas, allegedly in a fit of rage over a reported affair between his former girlfriend and Toprak's friend.

So in a most bizzare scenario, albeit Calhanoglu’s version of events, accompanied by a sidekick whose identity remains unknown, Tore is alleged to have gained access to Toprak and Calhanoglu’s room after the pair had returned there.

“Then the real story began,” Calhanoglu explained in an interview with the German TV channel ZDF. “Gokhan’s friend walked over to Omer, pulled out a gun from his jacket and told him he would be shot if he didn’t lay flat on the floor.”

’We didn’t want to end his career’

“I was hit and then I was lying in a corner. He then came up to me and said: ‘Don’t move or I will shoot you. I was curled up in the corner of the room, I couldn’t move, I was scared for my life.”

The incident, which died down in circumstances that are not entirely clear, was quickly covered up. “After this happened, we didn’t want to end Gokhan’s career so we kept quiet,” Calhanoglu said.

Somehow though Turkish manager Fatih Terim has decided to restore faith and grant Gokhan with a second chance, whilst Toprak and Calhanoglu were somehow ommited from the squad to face Brazil.

German repercussions

The whole debacle has led to a fear that the national team’s treatment of Toprak and Calhanoglu could damage Turkey’s future bargaining power when convincing the next generation of players born outside of the country to play for them. Tore, Calhanoglu and Toprak were all born in Germany, and there is a Turkish population estimated at around five to six million in western Europe.